One of the early symptoms of the onset of POI is irregular or missed periods. As the disorder progresses and the hormonal deficiency worsens, other symptoms that resemble menopause may appear, including:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Mood instability and irritability
- Poor concentration and/or “brain fog”
- Decreased libido
- Painful intercourse
- Vaginal dryness
In addition, the hormonal deficiency caused by POI can upset other normal operations and processes within the body, which can often result in other conditions, such as:
- Osteoporosis. Although the hormone message estradiol is associated with reproductive organs, it also affects skeletal health and bone density. Without sufficient levels of estradiol, bones can become weak, brittle, and less dense, increasing risk for fracture.
- Heart disease. The lower levels of estradiol in the body are associated with increased risk of hardened arteries, also called atherosclerosis.
- Anxiety and depression. Rather than just short-term irritability or moodiness, POI can be associated with more longer-term mental health issues, even triggering the onset of depression and anxiety where there was no major problem before.
- Dry eye syndrome. and other issues with the surface of the eye. Without treatment, severe dry eye can cause permanent vision damage.